Rain Helps Battle Against Northstate Lightning Fires, Air Quality Hazardous In Some Areas

Rain has proven to have it’s positive and negative effects for fire crews fighting the many Northern California lightning fires. Many of the fires are burning in remote areas that are very difficult to access by ground crews and concealed from aircraft by a thick layer of smoke.

Crews have achieved overall containment of 45% on the 27,200 acre Happy Camp Complex, but now there’s a new threat. A Flash Flood Watch through Friday evening has been issued by the Weather Service in the areas around the McKinney and Head Fires, where slopes are already weakened from loss of vegetation. The Ufish and Malone Fires have merged. The Ufish Fire is 4650 acres with 3% containment. 9 structures have been destroyed in the complex and more than 1,600 remain threatened. There’s been one civilian fatality. Highway 96 is open with some short delays where repair work is being done.

The Elliot Fire, south of Cottage Grove and running along Highway 96, is now 11,500 acres with 25% containment

In the Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County, the Smith River Complex has burned 84,000 acres with just 8% containment. Most of the complex is in heavy timber, producing an enormous amount of smoke. Air quality in the region is unhealthy, and hazardous in some areas.

In Trinity County northwest of Trinity Lake, the Deep Fire is around 4,200 acres and 60% contained.